Lighter bullocks were the highlight of this week’s mart trade, with most other categories of stock under a little pressure compared with previous weeks.

Mart sales are getting a lot smaller in the last two weeks, with some very low numbers of cattle coming out to some marts in the west this week.

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see a lot of red arrows, indicating a more subdued trade this week.

On closer examination, we see that movements have been petty small and under 10c/kg in many cases.

The biggest drop this week was seen around the weanlings rings.

The best quality weanlings have been sold at this stage and a lot of farmers who have been purchasing weanlings over the last number of months have finished buying, with sheds now full on most of these farms.

A number of exporters are still active around the ring, with one exporter starting to buy again for a big contract in the middle east early in the new year.

This has helped stabilise the lower end of weanlings and we see from the table that the only category of weanling with a green arrow this week is the bottom third of steers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket.

They came in at €2.37/kg this week, a 5c/kg rise on the previous week on the back of better demand from exporters.

Top-quality weanlings in the 300kg to 400kg bracket came in at €3.23/kg this week, a 4c/kg drop on the previous week.

Average-quality weanlings in the same weight bracket were a similar trade to last week, coming in at €2.81/kg.

Heavier bull weanlings over 400kg were back a little more, with the top-end weanlings back 8c/kg to €3.03/kg, while average heavier weanlings were back 10c/kg to €2.70/kg.

In the heifer rings, demand wasn’t as good as previous weeks and this saw prices back across the board.

Top-end weanling heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket were the only exception, up 4c/kg to €3.15/kg this week.

Heavier heifers over 400kg in the top-end quality bracket were back by 25c/kg this week, one of the biggest drops we have seen in weeks.

Moving to the store rings, bullocks had a steady week’s trading, with some factory-aligned feedlots active this week in stocking up on stores.

Top-end bullocks in the 500kg to 600kg bracket came in at €2.91/kg, unchanged from last week.

Poorer-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €1.95/kg this week.

In the heifer rings, it was a similar story, with trade relatively unchanged. Heavy heifers over 600kg came in at €2.88/kg this week, a 6c/kg rise. Average heifers in the same weight bracket came in at €2.58/kg.

The cull cow trade saw some improvement, with good demand from factory agents for heavy well-fleshed cows. Poorer-quality cows with flesh also improved on the back of an increase in factory quotes for cows last week. Parlour cows lacking flesh are still under pressure and mostly moving at under €1/kg in marts this week.